Country Summary



Madagascar was one of the last major habitable landmasses on earth settled by humans. Madagascar was a pirate stronghold during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The island was conquered by the French in 1896 who made it a colony. Independence was regained in 1960.



total: 587,041 sq km
land: 581,540 sq km
water: 5,501 sq km


tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Natural resources

graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, rare earth elements, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower

People and Society


28,812,195 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran


Malagasy (official) 99.9%, French (official) 23.6%, English 8.2%, other 0.6% (2018 est.)


Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar/Malagasy Lutheran Church/Anglican Church 34%, Roman Catholic 32.3%, other Christian 8.1%, traditional/Animist 1.7%, Muslim 1.4%, other 0.6%, none 21.9% (2021 est.)

Population growth rate

2.22% (2023 est.)


Government type

semi-presidential republic


name: Antananarivo

Executive branch

chief of state: President Andry RAJOELINA (since 21 January 2019)
head of government: Prime Minister Christian NTSAY (since 6 June 2018)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate or Antenimierandoholona  (18 seats; 12 members indirectly elected by an electoral college of municipal, communal, regional, and provincial leaders and 6 appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly or Antenimierampirenena (151 seats; 87 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 64 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed-list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)


Economic overview

low-income East African island economy; natural resource rich; extreme poverty; return of political stability has helped growth; sharp tax revenue drop due to COVID-19; leading vanilla producer; environmentally fragile

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$42.322 billion (2021 est.)
$40.537 billion (2020 est.)
$43.653 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,500 (2021 est.)
$1,400 (2020 est.)
$1,600 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, sugar cane, cassava, sweet potatoes, milk, vegetables, bananas, mangoes/guavas, tropical fruit, potatoes


meat processing, seafood, soap, beer, leather, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism, mining


3.8% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.89% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.09% of GDP (2018 est.)


$3.341 billion (2021 est.)
$2.589 billion (2020 est.)
$4.082 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

United States 19%, France 18%, United Arab Emirates 7%, China 6%, Japan 6%, Germany 5%, India 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

vanilla, nickel, clothing and apparel, titanium, gold, cloves (2021)


$4.768 billion (2021 est.)
$3.718 billion (2020 est.)
$4.685 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 24%, France 11%, United Arab Emirates 9%, India 7%, South Africa 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, rice, cars, packaged medicines, clothing and apparel (2019)

Exchange rates

Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
3,829.978 (2021 est.)
3,787.754 (2020 est.)
3,618.322 (2019 est.)
3,334.752 (2018 est.)
3,116.11 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Thursday, November 16, 2023